Summary: The Christian walk is not picnic! It involves purpose which extends beyond the lite and breezy. In it we are serious about our Influence; Mercy; Faith; and Service.
1. Entebbe Raid
On July 4, 1976, Israeli commandos made a daring on the Entebbe International Airport in Uganda, rescuing 103 Jewish hostages. In 15 minutes, the soldiers killed the seven kidnappers and set the captives free. But three hostages were also killed during Operation Entebbe. As the commandos entered the terminal, they shouted in Hebrew, “Get down! Crawl!” The Jewish hostages understood and dropped to the floor, while the kidnappers were left standing and were shot. But two the hostages hesitated, perhaps to see what was happening, and were also cut down. One young man was lying down and actually stood up when the commandos entered the airport. He, too, was shot with bullets meant for the enemy. Had these three obeyed the soldier’s command, they would have been freed with the rest of the captives.
The kingdom of God has executed a successful raid at the cross, where the atoning blood of Jesus delivered us from the bondage of sin. But the sovereign grace of God that sets us free through Christ can also bind us to obedience to Christ. Refusal to obey is alignment with the enemy. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ – that faith is marked by obedience. We must obey when duty calls. The proper attitude of Christian discipleship resolves, “IF IT IS GOD’S WILL, I WILL!” What does it mean to follow Jesus with a spirit of obedience?
2. Luke 17.1-10
I. Be Serious About Our Influence (1-3)
A. The Reality of Temptations and Stumbling Blocks – v.1
And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!
1. WHEN TEMPTED not if (James 1.13)
2. WOE for bringing them – as Judas – John 19.11
Jesus answered him [Pilate], “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
B. Consequences to Bringing Temptations/Stumbling Blocks – v.2
It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.
1. Imagine putting an obstacle before a blind person – Leviticus 19.14
You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
2. Millstone and Sea [Abyss]
3. Walking with God is a delight – walking away from God brings fear and trembling – Adam and Eve hiding in the garden – “afraid”
4. Philippians 2.12
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
5. “Fear and Trembling” is an idiom meaning a healthy fear that moves us to do what is right
The child of God has only one dread—to offend his Father; only one desire—to please and delight in him. Charles Bridges
C. To Avoid Causing Temptations – v. 3
1. We can focus on our needs and others’ character; what if we focus on others’ needs and our character?
2. Proverbs 4.23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
II. Be Serious with Mercy (3-4)
A. A Tension – be serious so we don’t cause others to sin; but when people sin show mercy
B. A Process:
1. Confrontation with Restoration in Mind – Galatians 6.1
2. Repentance Brings Forgiveness (the goal) – Ephesians 4.32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
3. Remember, Forgiving others is a way of life, not an event v. 4
4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
• Rabbis – forgive 3 times
• Jesus – 7 times; even 70 times 7 – Matthew 18.21-22
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. [Hint at Genesis 4.15; 24 – Vengeance for Cain and Lamech
1 Corinthians 13.4-6 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. 5 Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6 Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. (NCV)
III. Be Serious with Genuine Faith (5-10)
A. Request for More Faith – v. 5